What happens when you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol? It’s a simple question, but the answer can quickly get complicated. In our Breakdown of a DUI series, we’re going to take a look at the entire process that takes place when a person caught driving under the influence, from arrest to trial, starting with where it all begins: the DUI stop and arrest.

 

What prompts police to pull over someone who is driving under the influence of alcohol?

Erratic driving is by far the number one red flag that will cause police to pull over someone under the suspicion that they are driving under the influence. If you are swerving, breaking traffic laws, or driving erratically in any way, you can just about guarantee that any officer that sees you is going to pull you over and investigate.

Sometimes, people are caught driving under the influence due to DUI checkpoints. These are especially common on nights when officers know that many people will be drinking heavily such as on New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day. Other times, your being pulled over may not have anything to do with the officer suspecting you of a DUI at all, such as a broken taillight or speeding. If the officer suspects that you are intoxicated after speaking with you, though – something they are well-trained to recognize – the end result is the same.

What happens after you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI?

If a police officer suspects that you are driving while intoxicated, they will most likely ask you to complete either a field sobriety test, a chemical blood alcohol level test, or both. If a blood alcohol level test is administered, you must test under .08% in order to be let off.

In the next article in our Breakdown of a DUI series, we’ll take a closer look at what these tests are and how they work. For now, just know that if you test over .08% or you fail the field sobriety tests you will almost certainly be arrested for a DUI.

After the arrest

Once you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you will be taken to jail to await your bond hearing. At this point, you will be given the opportunity to call your lawyer, and it is strongly recommended you take advantage of this right before answering any questions. Bond hearings normally take place the next day, and once a bond has been set you are able to pay it and avoid spending any more time in jail. If you are arrested on a weekend, though, you may not be able to appear before a judge until the next business day, leading to a little bit lengthier stay in jail.

Once you’ve bailed out of jail, it’s time to start preparing for your next court date. Later in the series, we’ll talk about why it’s important to fight your DUI charges even if you are guilty, but for now, know that fighting the charges is an extremely important part of the DUI process. Sometimes, the charges may be dropped or the punishment reduced, but not unless you and your attorney are able to put together a solid defense.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, we urge you to contact us today so that we can begin to help you through what comes next. In the meantime, stay tuned for the next articles in our Breakdown of a DUI series.